Mind your mental health with collaborative dialogue on Nov. 1

Civic Engagement and Counseling Services at Kirkwood Community College invite all students and people in the community to participate in a mental health collaborative dialogue on Wednesday, Nov. 1, from 3 – 5 p.m. in Iowa Hall. 

Shawnacy Kiker Perez, English instructor, who is part of this event said, “This is a collaborative dialogue, this is sort of a different type of event. We are hopeful that what it will be, in what we are able to do, is gather a large group, a diverse group of people. We have faculty, we have staff, we have people from the community who are interested in talking about a certain topic, this topic being mental health.” 

According to Kiker Perez, the format of this event mixes a group of about six different people at random tables allowing them to interact and get to know one another outside of their titles and roles, to then get together to discuss as a larger group allowing everyone the chance to voice their thoughts while listening to others’ opinions. 

“We especially look at mental and emotional wellbeing. Our driving question for this event is what would it look like to thrive in a community that supported and encouraged your mental and emotional well-being,” said Kiker Perez. 

Gentine Nzoyikorera, a freshman and dental assistant major, said, “I’m a student that works and balances school and that has been a challenge that will continue every new semester or academic year.”  

When considering her mental health this year, Nzoyikorera said, “Sometimes I feel motivated and other times I feel defeated.” 

People at this event will discuss their feelings on the struggles they face mentally every day inside and out of college and the effects it holds on their daily life while trying to find out what can be done better to help manage and support one another as a community, according to Kiker Perez. 

“One of my big goals is just to open up the topic as sometimes mental health does have a lot of stigma around it and the idea of not being ok is sort of a stigma when talking about that so I think just one of my goals is to be able to have a conversation about that and to sort of democratize those experiences,” said Kiker Perez. “Everyone struggles, whether you’re a faculty, administrator, a student or an older person in the community, everyone struggles with their mental and emotional well-being all the time and I believe that’s something we should be able to talk about.”

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